March 31, 2015

The 6th edition of the Bubaque Festival is about to start. The event, an annual gathering of music and culture, focusing on the promotion of the rich cultural heritage  of  the  Bijagós  islands,  the  celebration  of  Guinea-Bissau  biodiversity  will run from April 3 to 5. Director Brian King presents the novelties.

ACPCultures+: What are the novelties of this 2015 edition?

Brian King: This year we issued an invitation to all organizations working in Guinea-Bissau (and in particular the Archipelago, but not exclusively) on environmental conservation, ecotourism, development and promotion of local products, community agriculture development to work together to develop a fair and exposition that will take place during the day.  The response has been very positive.  As a result local NGOs will set up stands in the fair and offer a number of other activities including: low-cost boat rides for Festival attendees to explore the islands, exhibiting local gastronomy, realizing short talks on conservation and biodiversity.  They have also pledged logistical support the Festival in the form of use of their boats and clean-up and recycling of garbage.

What the ACPCultures+ programme brings to this edition?

Many of the new allies that have come together to support the festival with adjacent activities and logistical support are or have been funded by Programme in some way, and so the very involvement of ACPCultures+ served as a catalyst for these new alliances. 

This year, thanks to the ACP and EU support, we have been able to begin much more robust digital promotion than in previous years.  Our trainees have developed promotional videos, local video news items, and an internet portal.  The video content has already been broadcast on the national television on a programme dedicated to the Festival, and we will disseminate this and future videos through the portal in order to connect with friends of the Festival abroad.

Do you think that thanks to the support of the ACPCultures+ Programme you will be able to highlight the interest of national stakeholders for culture?

Cultural values, traditions, and actions such as the Festival and video blog are all part of the strategy of our new allies to promote the Bijagos Archipelago as a candidate to be designated one of a handful "Patrimony of Humanity" sites recognized by UNESCO around the world.   To qualify, candidates must show precious and globally unique biological diversity as well as unique cultural traditions.   Environmental stewardship in the islands is supported by the traditional faith and beliefs practiced by many Bijogo people, so these various actors are trying to find the right balance between preserving or supporting indigenous culture while linking it to responsible tourism and 'green' economic opportunities and we seek to do this in part through these other cultural actions such as the Festival de Bubaque.



Bubaque Festival, 3-5 April 2015 in the town of Bubaque, Bolama-Bijagós province, Guinea-Bissau

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